Thursday 24 October 2013

Why are tearjerkers so appealing?

A few weeks ago, I was watching a booktuber talk about her top ten tearjerkers (I can't for the life of me remember who...) and I started mentally listing all of my favourite tearjerkers. I had so many more than ten! Most people hate to cry so what’s so appealing about bawling along to a good book? Why is it seen as something so intensely powerful? Why do we put ourselves through the agony over and over again??

When a book makes me sob then I know it’s good. They may sound silly, but I don't cry easily and if characters that aren’t real, experiencing things that aren’t real provoke such a physically emotional reaction from me then that author is doing something right. That writer has woven their woven their words around their characters in such a way that they became real. They became so important to me that their pain was my pain. Such a strong connection is made and those books leave a mark.

For me, there’s something very different about crying when reading to crying for myself. One I enjoy and the other I avoid at all cost. And yet I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars twice, Lynda Waterhouse’s Soul Love countless times and I have fond thoughts about the final four books of the Vampire Academy series. It’s these kinds of books that stay in my heart and in my thoughts, and ones that I recommend over and over again.

Do you like a good tearjerker? Do you have a favourite? Why do you think there’s such an appeal to them?



  1. Hmmm, such a good question. Tear jerkers can be such a love hate thing. The book that made me cry the most was Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I had tears streaming down my face on the way to work on a bus. Yes, that's how bad it was.

  2. I think it's sort of magical when a writer can make us care so much to the point we're crying. It requires a certain type of storytelling, a certain kind of talent, and it also takes a certain type of author to be able to write about depressing topics. Perhaps that's why they're appealing. I tend to avoid them a lot because no one likes to be a crying mess, but I always end up loving them after I finally get around to reading them.

    I cried a lot during Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

  3. I think it's because crying is cathartic. I've got a friend who was a psychology major who told me something about getting addicted to things that make you cry because of chemicals in your brain being released blah blah blah (I love him and he knows that 90% of what he talks about goes over my head..particularly because it's usually baseball. Baseball? Really? ). I think we prefer crying over a book rather than ourselves (I am absolutely the same way! All my favourite books make me cry and I HATE crying ordinarily) because when you finish a book, it's over. There's no problem to deal with. I think if I've got something making me cry in real life, it is FAR from over.


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